My spelling is absolutely appalling. So appalling in fact that it took me three attempts to spell absolutely in the previous sentence. The reason is because I’m dyslexic (which is another tricky word to spell). My spelling is poor but my creativity and reading level compensates for it. Before I submit any piece of work I always print it out, read through it and edit any spelling mistakes in a red pen. As of time of writing I’ve not had a piece of work published with a spelling mistake. Other writers have not been so lucky, with the results being disastrous and sometimes amusing.
Here are my top five spelling mistakes in published pieces of work.
- The Pasta Bible
The Pasta Bible was a unremarkable cookbook published in 2010 which listed various recipes involving pasta. However it contained an hideous misprint that caused wide spread offence and even made global headlines. In the recipe for Tagliatelle the book was meant to read:
salt and freshly ground black peppers.
However it read:
salt and freshly ground black people.
The mistake slipped through the company’s proof readers and was only discovered by a member of the public who took a picture of the mistake and posted it on Twitter. The publishers’ reaction to the mistake did not help the situation. They shifted the blame on a proof reading machine and said the error was “quite forgivable.” They later went on to attack the complainers by calling them “small minded” and down played the spello as a “silly mistake” (Spello by the way is a real word. Seriously it’s in the dictionary, I checked.) They were also quoted as saying, “why anyone would be offended, we don’t know”. The remaining copies of the Pasta Bible in the company’s warehouses were pulped, costing $20,000 and a second edition was printed. The original copies were not pulled from shelves in bookstores because the publishers thought it would be too difficult a task. These first editions have since become collectors items.
Quick, name this superhero.
Spider-man, also known as Peter Parker, first swung into the public connessess in 1962 and became an instant hit. The story behind Spider-man’s creation is also interesting. Stan Lee was watching a fly crawl up a wall and thought that would be an interesting ability for a superhero to have. After trialing several names (including Fly Man and Insect Man) Lee landed on the name Spider-Man. He added the hyphen so that the casual reader wouldn’t mistake Spiderman for Superman and Marvel could avoid a potential lawsuit from DC.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #1 the narrator of the story refers to Peter Parker as Peter Palmer. Mistakes like this weren’t uncommon during this period of comic books but rather worryingly the mistake was repeated later in the issue. Please see the photo of the mistake below.
This lead to the conspiracy theory that Stan Lee intended for Peter Parker to be called Peter Palmer but changed the name at the last moment. This mistake was referenced in a fairly recent Spider-Man story arc called Superior Spider-Man. In the story, Peter Parker swapped bodies with Otto Octavius, also known as Doc Ock, resulting in Peter dying in Doc Ock’s body and Doc Ock becoming the new Spider-Man. As Peter is dying and losing his memories he says the following:
Curiously Doc Ock is involved in another Spider-Man mistake. While fighting the evil Doctor in a very early appearance, Doc Ock mistakenly refers to Spider-Man as Super-Man.
Thankfully for Marvel, DC didn’t notice this mistake when it was first printed and did not launch a lawsuit.
3) The name Imogen
Do you know anyone called Imogen or are you perhaps an Imogen? Did you know that the name Imogen is actually a transcription error?
The first recorded use of the name is in Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline. The play has fallen out of favour for modern audiences and reviewers are divided as to call the play a tragedy, a romance or even a comedy. The play revolves around an ancient King of Britain called Cymbeline and his daughter called Imogen. Shakespearean experts believe that the name was in fact Innogen but the spelling was altered when the manuscripts were sent to print.
The phrase ‘google’ means to research something or to look something up. I use this phrase almost everyday but this is something the company Google are strongly against. They tried to stop the phrase google being included in the dictionary and in extreme cases have attempted to sue people who has used the phrase google with a capital G. Google’s stance on the word is somewhat ironic because the word is a spelling mistake of googol.
A googol is a one digit number followed by one hundred zeros. For example:
When the Google founders were deciding on a name for their company the name googolplex was suggested. A googolplex is ten, times a googol. Google’s founders didn’t like the name and suggested shortening it down to just Googol. Unfortunately the domain name googol.com was already taken however. The technician Google had hired noticed that the address google.com was free. The founder’s liked the name and since then Googol has been known as Google.
5) The Bible
The Bible has been around in various forms since the beginning of Christianity. At first the bibles were written in latin because the English church was ruled from Rome. The church would translate the lessons of the Bible to the congregation in a way that suited the church’s agenda. When the first Bible written in English was released in the 1500’s it was very controversial because it allowed readers to apply their own interpretation to the text. In the past five hundred years many other versions of the bible have been published and some of these versions are infamous for their mistakes.
The most amusing is from the 1631 King James’ Bible also known as the Sinner’s Bible or the Wicked Bible. While listing the Ten Commandments it reds:
They missed out a key word in that sentence. There are theories suggesting that this was an act of sabotage rather than a simple mistake.
Other infamous mistakes include:
“Sin on more” instead of sin no more from a 17th-century version.
“Let the children first be killed” instead of Let the children first be filled also from a 17th century version.
“But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit to remain, even so it is now.? To remain was a senior editor’s answer to a junior editor’s question should the comma before even remain. Unfortunately, although the comma did remain in the text so did the senior editor’s answer. This is from a bible printed in 1805.
“Thy son that shall come forth out of thy lions” was meant to read Thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins as in fruit of my loins. Another animal related mistake can be found in a 1944 bible. “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your owl husbands”. The text was meant to read own husbands but the bible was water damaged when it went to the printers.
What did you think of these spelling mistakes? Had you had the misfortune to find any spelling mistakes published in your own work? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media and I’ll see you next time.